Man About Town - Black Pearl Is Rick's Crowning Jewel


A taste of the northeast coast has just landed in Tyler!  Yep, it’s an authentic oyster bar in the age old tradition from Maine to Maryland. The style, design, menu, layout and ambiance are classically the same, high-end and first class. Of course it’s not surprising that Rick Eltife is the progenitor of Black Pearl Oyster Bar “on the square.”

Rick’s on the Square opened twenty-five years ago.  It was 1992 and the “Man” has been a regular, as well as a close friend with Rick ever since. We’ve experienced each first class addition from the bar, to the dining room, event center, garden, and now the new Oyster bar is his crowning jewel. Rick does everything right. He researches, visits the best locations, serves up the best food, drinks and service, and is the hands-on manager of every detail.  Rick has never let us down.

Now, Black Pearl is yet another example of Rick’s exceptionalism.  He started sharing his dream with the “Man” over two years ago. His thought was something new and different for Tyler with a very fresh product. “Since oysters are alive when you shuck’em, it can’t get any fresher than that,” Rick says. Rick never met an oyster he didn’t like. He toured every oyster bar in New York and Boston of any renown, and developed his concept of a long narrow mahogany and exposed old brick bar, serving fresh raw oysters, the biggest shrimp you’ve ever seen, snow crab claws, crab cocktail, lobster rolls and bisque.  Top it off with a host of excellent wines paired with the fare, the best beers of choice and 18 different, hand-prepared from scratch, classic craft cocktails by mixologist Travis Hartsfield. (The “Man’s” favorite is Travis' Old Fashion! Ya can’t drink just one!)

Rick took his time in the development ‘cause he wanted the best possible staff to provide top shelf service, of a very fresh product. He found the perfection in graduate Chef Nathan Frushay, who hails from New Orleans and has worked in large cities from Miami to Las Vegas.  The guy is a hoot. He stands behind the bar and prepares every morsel as it is ordered right before your eyes. His preparations are creative, flavorful and beautifully plated.  It is worth the time to meet and watch Nathan perform his magic!

Our party for the night was seven super ladies who make up the “worker bees” in the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Contact Club. This club is a group of thirty “high performing” professionals who sell Chamber memberships. It is this group, along with the outstanding leadership of Tom Mullins and Henry Bell, that ensures the Tyler Chamber is consistently the fourth largest Chamber in Texas! Get the picture?  These seven ladies are stars and it was a delight to share a dinner with them, Rick and me.

My buddy Rick knows how to throw a no- holds barred party. Every adult beverage possible was available and chef Nathan laid a little of all his best on us. Rick’s instructions to him were “to feed and water ‘em up good,” which he did.  There were never-ending platters of four types of fresh NE Oysters, Beef Tartare, Carpaccio, Ceviche Halibut and Shrimp, King Crab on ½ shell, Snow Crab Claws and a Jumbo Shrimp.  Whoa!  Out of this world good and beautiful. The grand finale for desserts were the sinful Mousse and Chocolate Brulee for everyone. Rick Eltife, the King of Downtown, treated these ladies like Queens, and the “Man” went along for the ride.

Black Pearl is an experience you will not soon forget. It is a perfect place for making marvelous memories and having a great time in beautiful Downtown Tyler.

We had a rockin’ good time and the ladies took selfies and blasted Facebook with pictures. As the night went on, several of us, Rick and the “Man” nosied down Erwin Street to the new Garage Bar for a night cap, and to listen to the band.

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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